Want to snorkel with whale sharks, sea turtles or humpback whales? Or maybe float above underwater statues, like Christ the Abyss? We’ve updated our list of the 10 best islands around the globe for underwater adventures. Grab a mask and dive in to the best snorkeling in the world.
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Technically, nature can’t deliver a sure-thing when it comes to animal encounters, but Isla Mujeres, found 9 miles offshore of Cancun, Mexico, is as good as it gets. June through August, the turquoise waters are thick with the spawn of bonito tuna — becoming a buffet for whale sharks, the world’s largest fish at up to 41½ feet long. Local tour operators can drop you in the path of these fish, allowing encounters that can sometimes last up to 20 minutes. This area is also home to two underwater statue parks filled with more than 500 life-size sculptures in 12 to 20 feet of water.
Key Largo, Florida
If you followed the coverage of Hurricane Irma in September 2017, you might expect that the reefs of Key Largo suffered damage. Thankfully, this upper Florida Key was within the eye of the storm, and thus the reefs were largely spared any consequence. The high-profile corals of Molasses Reef, part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, are still surrounded by cruising nurse sharks, Southern stingrays, and several species of turtles including loggerhead, green and hawksbill. The famed Christ of the Abyss statue, found at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, is also unharmed and the park is accepting visitors.